If you’ve been keeping up with (sports) news lately, you know there’s been quite a bit of juicy news off the field as of late.  Former superstar quarterback Michael Vick was finally released from prison.  On top of most likely ruining his football career, his finances are in complete ruin.  Tens of millions of dollars gone, through bad investments (obviously), legal fees, and living a liquid lifestyle (cars, clothes, things that don’t appreciate in value).  A common element of Vick’s financial and legal problems was he kept on taking the advice of the wrong people.  In both circumstances, his ‘boys’ weren’t looking out for his best interest.

Then there’s the sordid story of Dirk Nowitski’s personal life.  The story first broke when the Mavs were still playing: ‘Woman arrested at Nowitski’s home.’  Well…OK.  Now a few weeks later, the ‘facts’ of the case are this woman is still in jail, she’s had at least eight other aliases, and Dirk’s not the first pro athlete (QB Tony Banks) that she’s targeted.  She claims to be his fiancee and carrying Dirk’s baby; time will tell if either or both of those are true.  As was the case with Dikembe Mutombo, in the long run it’s for the best that he backed out before he reached a point of no return but there’s still a little bit of a sense of ‘how did you get in so deep?’

Finally and most tragically, there’s the latest chapter in the life of Mike Tyson.  As you’ve probably heard, his youngest daughter died earlier today after a tragic accident at home.  I’ve previously expressed my feelings for Mike on this blog; we all agree the man was no saint, but at what point do you stop paying for your sins?  Especially if you no longer live your life in that fashion?

My overall point in mentioning the lives of Dirk, Vick, and Tyson is to take a step back and look at how important making good judgment is in all our lives.  Not something we ever learn in school.  Good or bad, it usually starts with how our parents taught us (or didn’t).  When we leave home, it’s represented in who we bring into our lives as friends.  And we come full circle when we pick our mates and bring our own kids in this world. 

I honestly don’t have a nice, tidy conclusion to this one.  I still feel really bad for Tyson (I wouldn’t wish the death of a child on my worst enemy), and I’m constantly questioning my own ability to judge people (I’ve been very lucky at the right times, I won’t deny that’s a big part of it.)

Anyway, food for thought.